Coastal Deserts

some deserts are located along coastlines, where intuition would seem to indicate that moisture should be plentiful. The driest place on Earth is the Atacama Desert, however, located along the coast of Peru and Chile. The Namib Desert of southern Africa is another coastal desert, known legendarily as the skeleton Coast, because it is so dry that many of the large animals that roam out of the more humid interior climate zones perish there, leaving their bones sticking out of the blowing sands.

How do these coastal deserts form adjacent to such large bodies of water? The answer lies in the ocean currents, for in these places cold water upwells from the deep ocean and cools the atmosphere. The effect is similar to that of rain-shadow deserts, where cold air can hold less moisture, and the result is no rain.

Continue reading here: Polar Deserts

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